More than one million doses of flu vaccine have been administered in Colorado this year and the number is growing.

Last year at this time, about 800,000 Coloradoans had received a flu vaccine. KDVR reports that number is presently at 1.2 million vaccines since August 1. There's been a 52% increase in vaccines in 2020 compared to last year. Heather Roth, who is the immunization branch chief for the CDPHE believes flu vaccines in the state will reach record numbers. Mesa County Public Health has been doing its part to get as many people vaccinated as possible by conducting drive-thru flu clinics the past two weekends in Grand Junction.

Health officials urge residents to get their flu shot by the end of October if possible. The CDC says every one age 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine every year, with just a few rare exceptions. It is especially important for people who are at high risk. The good news is the cost of the flu vaccine is generally covered by private health insurers as well as Medicare, Medicaid, and CHP+.

This year it's especially critical to keep influenza numbers down.

For one thing, people who get the flu are going to be sending everyone around them into high alert for fear it could be COVID. That's going to mean things like quarantining, self-isolating and a whole lot of panic and worry for those who come in contact with flu sufferers.

More importantly is the effect the flu season could have on the state's hospitals, which are seeing increases in hospitalizations due to COVID. Reports indicate the number of positive COVID cases is only going to increase in the coming weeks. Combined with the care needed for the regular flu season, there is potential for serious strain on health care resources.

There are no less than 22 flu shot providers in Grand Junction according to fluvaccolorado.org. You can go to their website to find a provider near you. The flu shot may not be everyone's cup of tea, but the people who get the vaccine will certainly help their chances of not getting sick this winter, as well as keeping others safer and healthy as well.

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